New Community Radio in Bandon, Oregon
Pacifica welcomes KBOG 97.9 FM in Bandon, Oregon to the world of community radio and Pacifica Network. KBOG is an low power FM (LPFM) station located along the Pacific coast in Coos County.
Kelly and Joey Miles were living in Virginia in the late ’90s when they heard that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) were going to start granting licenses for LPFM stations. They were both excited at the idea, but thought “there was no way we’d be able to afford anything like that.” Fast forward to 2012, Kelly met a friend who was applying for a license in the area. Although the license was granted in 2014, the previously put together board had fallen through, and the ticking clock became a little louder.
“She didn’t want to lose the license because all we have in Bandon is country music and AM radio.” Motivated by this idea, Kelly took action in December of 2016. She reinstated the nonprofit organization, paid up all the fines, and move the approved antenna to a better location. They also got some help from the Community Media Assistance Project, a non-profit out of Portland that assists community radio stations.
“We finally got all the paperwork done.”
Community Radio in Cranberry Country
Those who are from cranberry country will find some familiarity with the station’s call letters. “We chose the call letters because of the area. There are a lot of boggers and cranberries in the area, many of whom I worked with while at the Coquille Watershed Association.” Oregon is one of the top cranberry producing states in the nation, and Bandon is known as the “Cranberry Capital of Oregon.”
The annual Bandon Cranberry Festival draws big crowds from all over the state, and Kelly is using that as motivation to quickly get the station back on the air. “I keep thinking that things are going to happen quicker than they are. We’re learning things that are brand new to us. If we can do it by September 1st, that would be great. It would be great to do remote broadcasting from the Cranberry Festival.”
Bringing a Big World to Small Places
Bandon is a small city with mostly retirees, and schools are deep in logging country. Mailers were sent out to community members and Kelly hopes to be able to tailor discussion to everyone’s needs. She sees KBOG as a place for training youth and the community. Her previous experience as director of the Coquille Watershed Association gives her experience in applying for grants.
“I’m going to apply for a grant that assists rural youth in career opportunity training. High school are very rural around here…and there are almost no career opportunities for them. We’re not bashing logging, we just want to give them options. The kids are great to work with and interested in everything. We want to at least show them a new world.”
KBOG is working hard to get all their “ducks in a row,” and to be as ready as possible before getting on the air again. “We’re trying to keep it on the down low for a bit to get big excitement all at once. We waiting for things to get set up and for us to really know what we’re doing.” There are seven people at the station, between volunteers, the board, and Kelly and Joey. The end of August brings a big student population who may be keen on volunteer opportunities. They are in the process of purchasing more equipment, getting their new antenna set up, and working with their engineer. A website and social media accounts are also soon to follow, and you can find them on Facebook.
An Affiliate of Pacifica Radio Network
And as for why KBOG chooses to affiliate with Pacifica;
“Pacifica just has the programs, anything you can think of is there. I just get excited about bringing a little bit of the world to Coos County, we don’t have that diversity here. It’s unlimited. I’ve spent more than a few hours listening to things and getting roped in. I want to have a variety of programming 24 hours a day.”
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